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Two Strategies for Paring Down Tape Backups

 

Many business enterprises have years or even decades worth of backup tapes that form a growing stockpile of data.  Much of this data is no longer current enough to be useful for any sort of disaster recovery scenario, but management must still maintain it in order to comply with federal and state guidelines regarding electronic discovery in case of litigation.  As time goes on and the tape stockpile grows ever larger, more firms are turning toward advanced data strategies in an effort to reduce it while still remaining in compliance with all applicable guidelines.  Two main strategies provide a solution, either one of which can be implemented as part of a managed programs model of IT services.

Remediation

This strategy uses "intelligent scanning" of tape data to identify those files that could potentially become relevant for legal departments in the future.  In a typical enterprise, such files represent less than 1% of all the data archived.  In a remediation strategy, in-house staff or IT consultants run these scans and create an archive of the relevant content.  Afterwards, old tapes can be destroyed rather than stored indefinitely. 

Automated Processing of Tapes

An alternative strategy known as automated tape processing reduces bulk by approximately 80% instead of 99%, but preserves complete sets of data rather than only those deemed relevant by the intelligent scanning engine.  The principle of automated processing is to eliminate redundancies in the stored tape data.  Unique content is archived in this model so that any backup legal may need has only one copy of each file.

 

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